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Performance and Visual Optimizations

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I'm getting towards the end of a project, and started wondering about performance and improving the overall quality of the animations I'm making.


In the example pen, I have a few questions.


1. Does using x, y improve the animations over using top, bottom, left, right?

In a video by Paul Irish it looks like using translate for CSS animations is performs better, especially in more complicated examples, is this similar with GSAP? Looking at the GSAP tests, this seems different, though. I'm not sure if my eyes deceive me, but I do see a bit of a "staircase" effect on the letters.


2. How would you use x and y translates with staggerFrom + letters wrapped in spans?

I'm not sure I understand using x and y properly - when I add to the spans of the letters in the example, it doesn't work.


3. Will lowering the ticker's call time help with performance?

While Tweens may not be as smooth, will the browser use less resources if set to something like:




See the Pen dmzBBz by NerdOrDie (@NerdOrDie) on CodePen

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1. Ya x and y translates work better than left and top. When you animate left or top property it causes layout recalculation. x and y translate take advantage of GPU and doesn't cause layout trigger so they perform better.


2. Span tags are inline by default and css transforms don't work on inline elements, if you set your span tag's display as inline-block then it will work.


3. Ya game developers use that trick but if you visit some of the websites from examples page, you will rarely find someone doing that. Generally if your animation isn't performing at 60fps on PC or on even some high end mobiles then you are doing something wrong or asking browser to do too much work. 




You can optimize performance by avoiding triggers wherever possible. Avoid animating too many elements and use canvas to animate.  Avoid creating too many tweens on movemove, scroll events by using requestAnimationFrame, so your calculations will happen only once per frame. Start measuring performance of your work from start, on mobile and by using chrome's CPU throttling. So you will have idea about how much more you can do on the page and keep performance better. Also about setting animation to 30FPS, if your animation drops around 30-45FPS on PC it will drop below 30 on mobiles, so optimizing has to be your first step.


You can search through the forum for discussions on performance, recently we are getting a lot of questions on performance.

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Thanks, @Sahil - not sure how I missed the display: inline-block property, but that seems to do the trick.


When taking advantage of translate via x and y, I noticed a similar issue to what I posted in this thread. I went ahead and applied a similar fix which was recommended there. In this test, things don't look too different, but it's good to hear in more complicated animations there are definite advantages.


force3D: false


Also, I think creating in canvas is what I'm going to be looking at very soon. It seems that GSAP + PixiJS is the obvious choice for performant tweening. Are there any other recommendations on GSAP + canvas? 


Updated pen: 


See the Pen geGONz by NerdOrDie (@NerdOrDie) on CodePen


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No I haven't heard of any other library than PixiJS, GSAP has plugin for it as well. It seems best option for 2d animations on canvas.


Forgot to point out, you see staircase effect because you are using Elastic ease.

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Ah, thanks @Sahil - I'm a fan of that bounce effect since it goes past the preset y value compared to the bounce easing. Is there any solutions to smoothinig that out, or would it be best to use a fromTo and some other tweens to simulate the effect?

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You can play with custom ease to get desired effect when usual eases don't work for you.


You can also merge two eases by using this demo by @GreenSock if you are after an effect like that.


See the Pen aYLjjz?editors=0010 by Sahil89 (@Sahil89) on CodePen


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Great, this looks perfect @Sahil - out of curiosity... do to tweens perform better than from tweens?

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While not a benchmark, you can look at the source code and see the difference. A from tween is the same thing, but it adds runBackwards and immediateRender to the vars.


TweenLite.to = function(target, duration, vars) {
  return new TweenLite(target, duration, vars);

TweenLite.from = function(target, duration, vars) {
  vars.runBackwards = true;
  vars.immediateRender = (vars.immediateRender != false);
  return new TweenLite(target, duration, vars);


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